Man dies after slashing own throat in front of shoppers in Boots

Witnesses said the man was refused methadone before the incident

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The Independent Online

A man has died after slashing his own throat in front of staff and shoppers in a Boots branch.

The 50-year-old is believed to have cut himself with a razor after being refused methadone by workers at the chemist in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire.

Paramedics were unable to revive the man after being called to the incident at around 9am on Friday morning.

No one else was hurt.

"My staff have been through quite a traumatic experience," the store manager told the Mail Online this morning.  

"We opened this morning. The staff are happy to work and the customers have been great."

Eyewitnesses described the aftermath of the incident.

"A woman came running out of the store screaming and carrying a little baby," one woman told the Stoke Sentinel.

"She was shouting 'he's just done it in front of me'. When the police arrived, they swarmed straight around the store and went inside."

"Someone came outside and told us a man had come in asking for methadone but was not allowed to have the drug. Then he took a razor blade and cut his own throat."

Mark Abbot, of Newcastle, said: "The police moved in so fast. The police officers took control of the situation and stopped people from going inside.

"I feel so sorry for the man's family and the poor staff and customers who must have witnessed it. They must be traumatised to see that happen in front of them."

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman told the Stoke Sentinel: "The man was in cardiac arrest. Our crews immediately began giving advanced life support, but unfortunately it became evident nothing could be done to save him and he was confirmed dead at the scene."

A police spokesman said: "We were called to Boots after receiving reports of a man in the shop with a sharp object. The man had injured himself and sustained serious injuries.

"An investigation to understand the circumstances of what happened is underway. The death is not being treated as suspicious and a report will be prepared for the coroner."

The victim's family is receiving support from specially-trained officers.

Methadone is often used by recovering heroin addicts to ease withdrawal symptoms. It is also a powerful drug in its own right.